Monday, January 7, 2008

Resolution #1: Lose Weight, 60's Style

This recipe for mushroom puree, for which there will be no picture because all the pictures turned out looking incredibly gross, will put you on the path to weight loss. It comes from Jean Nidetch's Weight Watchers Cook Book, 1966, which tells us that Weight Watchers was started by "six fat women." This book was a Christmas gift from my brother, but I'm sure he wasn't hinting at anything and really just wanted me to enjoy the lovely line drawings and helpful advice about which "festive dishes" will be loved by my "bridge ladies" (cheese aspic-shrimp patio platter, in case you are wondering).

We find in the "Unlimited Vegetables" chapter that mushrooms are (1) unlimited and (2) just like roast peanuts (see picture above). That is evidence that this book is not entirely reliable. Still, I bravely boiled some mushrooms with water and a little seasoning and declared it good. Actually, better than good because I can see using this as a base for a lot of different soups and spreads. Nidetch suggests adding tomato, spinach or skim milk for a soup, but I added a little vegetable broth, garlic and peas and served it with homemade rye bread.

Did you read that? Mushroom puree with peas? Sounds good, right? It was. But the pictures. Oh, my. Imagine brown liquid with some chunky brown pieces with bright little round things floating in it. The pictures were not pretty at all, but trust me, it's good. Just eat it by candlelight.

Mushroom Puree
Adapted from the Weight Watchers Cook Book, 1966. This recipe is pretty flexible and I think you can add just about any seasonings to it depending on what you like and how you'll use it. I happen to have dehydrated onion flakes (an impulse buy at Penzey's,) but fresh sauteed onions would be good if you're willing to lose a little of that 60's flavor.

1 pound mushrooms
1 Tbs caraway seeds
3 Tbs dehydrated onion flakes
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp grated pepper

Coarsely chop the mushrooms. In a heavy pot, combine mushrooms with one quart of water, caraway seeds, and onions. Let cook over moderate heat for one hour. Check occasionally and add water if necessary. Turn off the heat, place in refrigerator, and let flavors blend for a couple hours or overnight.

Put the stock back on to cook some more and add the chives, salt and pepper. Put everything in blender, or using an immersion blender, and blend until you have a puree. Use as a base for soup or spreads.


Rural Vegan said...

As a diehard fungus hater, I have to say - your description of the brown liquidy pate was like my worst mushroom nightmare! :P

Classic cook said...

I am a fungus lover and it looked pretty disgusting to me, too :-)